Toddlers throw tantrums all the time. Worse, junior’s behaviour isn’t just intolerable, it can be downright embarrassing, especially since they can have a meltdown just about anywhere ― from a quiet restaurant to a crowded supermarket.
Explains Insights Mind Centre psychologist Daniel Koh, “If the tantrum is mild, under control and non-aggressive, this is how they express their emotions and thoughts. Younger children are on a learning curve and lack communicative skills or the emotional vocabulary, so they will use what is natural for them.”
Psychiatrist Dr Lim Boon Leng, agreeing that toddlers express their emotions through tantrums as they have limited language capabilities, also points out, “As babies grow into toddlers, they start to be aware of their ‘self’ and to have their own thoughts and wishes”.
“Younger children are on a learning curve and lack communicative skills or the emotional vocabulary, so they will use what is natural for them.”
Hard to believe as it is, know that junior’s tantrums are actually part of their development, and can actually benefit them! Here are eight ways in which your tot’s tantrums are actually a good thing:
1. It is necessary for your little one’s development
It’s normal for kids to throw tantrums, states Dr Lim, who is from Dr BL Lim Centre For Psychological Wellness. “The Terrible Twos ― when toddlers throw tantrums ― is a necessary normal developmental stage. Throwing tantrums show that toddlers are developing well.” He also adds that your little one can only learn how to take control of their emotions after expressing their anger and feelings.
2. It helps them release negative emotions
Koh notes that when your offspring lets go of negative emotions, it stops these feelings from festering and snowballing. In short, throwing tantrums allows junior to let loose any pent-up feelings that could affect them later. Koh adds, “This will prevent future emotional or psychological issues, so that they can move forward with their daily life and tasks.”
3. It shows that your little one is open with you
Dr Lim says, “Tantrums show that children feel safe enough and are comfortable in showing their emotions with their parents.” The fact that your kid kicks up a fuss when they are feeling upset shows that they are comfortable with you!
4. It lets them learn how to control their behaviour
As junior hasn’t learned how to fully take control of their emotions, they throw fits when they can’t get their way. However, when your little one throws a fit, they’ll eventually need to gather their emotions and stop ― thus, your little one is learning to control their emotions whenever they recover from throwing a fit. Koh explains, “Understanding how to handle tantrums indicates one’s confidence and self-awareness. Learning more skills will lead to greater independence.”
5. It can be a bonding opportunity
Though you’re frustrated after your tot’s outburst, responding to your child with thought and care when they’re upset can help you both to bond. This will reassure your child that you are present and support them, even when they are feeling agitated. Koh advises that you teach your mini-me appropriate words to express how he is feeling to help him build his emotional vocabulary, so that junior’s ability to verbalise his moods will improve. At the same time, you balance this with positive reinforcement, such as showing him that you care.
“Tantrums are opportunities for parents to teach children the right values and the appropriate way to deal with rejection and their anger.”
6. It shows that you aren’t too lenient
The reason your tot’s throwing a tantrum is probably because you refused their unreasonable request ― for instance, to eat cake for lunch, buy thwm another toy (they already have too many!), and so on. Hence, if your little one’s been throwing tantrums when you turn down their many demands, it’s a sign that you aren’t giving in to too much your tot!
7. It lets you show your child you mean what you say
Your little one will be able to observe whether you follow through with your promises when they start throwing a tantrum. For instance, if you told them you won’t allow them to eat cookies before dinner, your little one will be able to note whether you give in when they start throwing a tantrum. So, it’s important to stick to your words to show your kiddo that you are a person who keeps their promises.
8. It lets you set a good example
The way you react to your little one when they have a tantrum can set an example for them they’ll always remember! Dr Lim notes, “Tantrums are opportunities for parents to teach children the right values and the appropriate way to deal with rejection and their anger.” If you handle their outbursts calmly and rationally, your little one will be able to see the way you respond and learn from it.
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